Thursday, 24 October 2013

HOW 'ARTHUR' TOOK A BATH! (bathroom of #43 Green Dolphin St.)






THIS IS the TRUE STORY OF
HOW ARTHUR TOOK A BATH!

Well, technically speaking 'Arthur' did Not really take a bath anywhere, but IT IS TRUE that I took an empty space, in the Arthur doll's house, which was not very appealing and turned it into a very vintage looking Victorian style bathroom.  To say that this bathroom is taken as far as it is going to go, design wise, is inaccurate, because I do believe that there is going to be a sequel to this particular saga somewhere down the line. But for right now, this is what I would like to show and tell you about.  So sit back and relax, as I open the pages and begin this tale with .......
                                                                                  
Chapter One
 the intro
( in which I throw a little light onto the subject )
***
As all stories begin somewhere, this one began when I decided to make a plan on how I thought the bathroom should proceed by considering the placement of the fittings and then where the lights should go. I happen to have a
armed chandelier by Scott Hughes that was purchased somewhere in the 1990's from a miniature show in Seattle, Washington.  It is very Victorian but the question is "Why?", when I was not doing Anything Victorian at the time of purchase, nor was I yet planning to.  That goes also for the Ni-glo parlor lamp that is stationed in the bedroom.  Puzzling, to be sure, but yet here they were; and now after all those many years of waiting I had a opportunity to use both of them in the same house!  So the wiring was planned to accommodate the chandelier and also for the set of lights for over the sink.  
I don't know if any of you recall that I use to have this room wall- papered with a brown and white stripe.
Well, All of that wallpaper had to be scrapped ( once I moved the window over by an inch), because I ran out of it and so I had to go to PLAN B.  Enter the faded yellowish scrapbook paper that I muddied up even further with a  thin wash of brown water-based gel stains.  I seem to like things that look like they have been taken a 'beating in life' and so the walls, with lovely water stains and shadows became the order of the day.
The walls with the stained paper and the lamps that are finally up and running

a close up of the Scott Hughes Light fixture
This light fixture cast a nice warm glow throughout the room, but because it  did not hang low enough, I was faced with a new dilemma of how to suspend it properly AND securely.  I eventually decided to run a beam made from balsa wood, which I stained and then installed to stretch across the top which gave a needed flat surface for the light base and also hid the electrical wire which runs its length and then into the exterior wall.  
                                             One down and one to go! 
 The light fixture for over the sink didn't extend far enough away from the wall to clear the medicine cabinet that would eventually be under it.  To solve that problem, I glued a brass button to its base from which I could then, thread the wires through the holes of the button and then again through a hole in the wall board and finally secure the hardwire into the tape wire's current.  It worked out better than expected.  The light shades are of plastic and I brushed Glossy Accents over top to make them appear more glass-like, and then toned down the glare from the lights with a touch of Amber glass stain applied lightly to the shades.  It cut the starkness of the lampshades and added a bit of extra interest by making them look more 'old'.  I also aged the metal housing which use to be bright and brassy.  I used a favorite product of mine which I shall tell about a little later.  Meanwhile, I needed to install the tub.

***
Chapter Two
(  in which I'm showing how the tub got soaked)
This is the bath tub that I started with which I purchased at a drug store last Christmas.  It was filled with Real life bath products which I promptly discarded. What I was after was The Tub.   The shape was lovely and deep and looked to be to scale and and it was in fact the Perfect size for the proposed Victorian Bathroom plan.  I had seen a great instructional posting from Brae at Otterine blogspot.com.  She re-did a Chrysnbon Victorian claw footed plastic tub for her Haunted Heritage doll's house, and made it look like porcelain over old metal.  It was Incredibly impressive.  I thought her masking- off technique was a great idea and so I thought to try it out with this pink plastic drug store tub.  Everything went well until I tried to correct an over-spray by protectively masking around the base of the tub( a la' Brae), still feeling very much in control of the situation.  As it so happened,  the paint on the outside of the tub had not completely cured, but I was too impatient. So there I was merrily re-spraying the white tub interior.  But when I finally removed the outside masked-off covering...

Uh oh 
And it just Had to happen on the side that would be facing out!  Okay, so now I had to make it rusty.
Yes, turning a sow's ear into a silk purse yet again.  Now, am happy that this big corroded area is there?  What can I say?.... ( shrug )

maybe
that it adds character? 
oh well....
Janine's 'Trusty Man' (aka her husband Bruce), made me a bath rack for the tub.  I coated the 4 ends with white correction fluid to make the sharp ends softer, and then fitted it out with some french milled bath soap, a bottle of bath gel and a sponge.  Then, with the addition of a drain a plug and some additional grime, all I had to do was to
Just add water



and a Duck. 

Janine remarked that the tub looked like it needed a good cleaning! Hah! She's right!  But old tubs like this one, readily show their age and the lady of the house has some 'Old Dutch' cleansing powder handy sitting just under the old toilet, but grunge is grunge and there is only so much one can do, I think.
 HOWEVER
 If I Do decide to clean the rust out from around the drain, then I shall simply Peel Out the gel candle water and 'scrub' out the rust color out with more white paint.  However right now I am really Into rust AND soap scum so I probably won't bother.

 I really aged the taps for the tub.  These I took out of the doll house the rats ate through.  The pipes were very new looking and use to be glossy white with the taps of nice, bright and shiny brass;
but
NOT   
ANY   MORE
Now they're just old
***
Chapter Three
( showing just how far I can actually sink)
You'll never guess where I got this sink!   I found it at the thrift store!!!  I have several stores that I am constantly scouting out and at this particular store, I had set myself a quest of looking specifically for a sink for the doll's house and I found it!  It was already whitish in color but it was without a drain.  It had some ugly platsticy hardware...  actually, now that I think about it, only the faucet was ugly. ( It looked like a huge white plastic banana )  The taps were out of scale too, although I did save them, but my Big concern was the drain.  
The pedestal was originally positioned at the back of the sink.  I had to cut it off and move it forward so that it could cover the new drain hole and since the unit was hollow I was able to re-use the old Chrysnbon sink pipes that I salvaged from my other doll's house.
the old pipes
I added eyelets to give some additional length and width to the fitting
so that it could reach the wall

"Yoo hoo!  
Has anybody seen my RUST?"
It's right here!

"OH Thank you!!"
***
Chapter Four
(in which the tension mounts)

Now don't tell me that you didn't know that I was going to install a Shower Curtain for the bathroom!!?   I had planned to do it right after the bed curtain tutorial. But I got lazy and left it propped up against the tub.  I finally got the 'lead out' and got to work again and found the brass rod that I had been looking for and BONUS, I found my brass cutter too.  The circumference of the rod fit the hole of a brass grommet and so I glued one to the end of the rod and sewed some curtain rings to the top of the drape and slid the whole unit onto the rod.  I had inserted a small length of toothpick into one end of the brass rod before I put the second end cap on.  I positioned the curtain and the rod between the wall using only the tension to support it.  If it needed to be re- adjusted I slid the toothpick in or out as required,
no muss no fuss
But it was  ALL too shiny!
ENTER CHANEL!
( dressed in black and fashionably late )

I LOVE THIS STUFF!
I am pretty sure that this was NOT what the House of Chanel envisioned for their prestige nail product but I would gladly buy it again once it runs out.  It is of course, for nails, and when applied it gives any shiny nail enamel, a mat velvet look once it has dried and makes the color or finish, dull and flat in appearance.  My nails are never very pretty.  Paints and solvents and soap and water, keep them short, and to tell you the truth,  I'm not that interested.  So I had this bottle kicking around and thought about trying it out on something shiny.  I have since used it on wood, metal, plastic and paint and wonder of wonders it works on EVERYTHING!
I brushed it onto the shower curtain rod and the rings.  It made a terrific primer and then when it dried, I aged them a bit more with some water-based gel stains and then
PRESTO!
AGE appeared!

***
SIDE NOTE
Janine has recently reported that she has found the same kind of Mat Top Coat 
available in REVLON for a fraction of the price
(MUST check it out )




Now I have an aged tension curtain rod with rings.
easily installed or removed whenever necessary


***

Chapter Five

( wherein I talk about my shelf life)
I made this shelf unit after watching a series of Christel Jensen polymer clay tutorials on you-tube.  I used her as inspiration for these but they look nothing like her Lovely Fimo Tea Shelves.  I have chosen to load mine up with necklaces of chains and beads that I had in my ever- growing stash of "goodies".  I think that they look pretty good here, don't you?

vase on toilet tank is a gift from Fats
For the cabinet over the sink, I used the Chrysnbon one from the old doll's house and just repainted it and added a small hand towel with a lovely bit of cut-work at the hem and draped it over the bar.
The gap you can clearly see between the bowl of the sink and the pedestal is because it is not yet glued in.  NOTHING IN THE ENTIRE SPACE has been AFIXED INTO PLACE YET.
(still not yet brave enough for the full glue 'commitment' )
sigh


***

Chapter Six
( whereby I'm patching things up)
Nothing is considered sacred when working with minis.  Levi Jeans are no exception.  I'm sorry to say that
 I OUT-GREW mine,
However, I managed to keep a great little souvenir


( just for old-times sake)  


Chapter Seven
( wherein my toilet's looking crappy)
Of all the elements in the bathroom this toilet is the most visible and the most unsatisfactory.
I took the tank from the old doll's house and cut it down... crooked!  I had already tried to add some extra interest to it after looking at
Sarah's from Amber's House blog, where she made a Fantastic looking vintage loo with the addition of applied relief.  Sarah, if you are reading this, you are in NO WAY held RESPONSIBLE  for this disaster!  This was supposed to look like a vintage fixture but it looks like it was rescued from the side of the road.  I must have a least 4 toilets of various pedigrees but I have taken half of the Chrysnbon kit and my own wonky tank with the Chrysnbon bracket supports and connected them with a stem from a cotton swab.
( but now I am pooped out!)
 I have tried and tried to make it look prettier but instead it just looks crappy.
( but How appropriate. )
If you want to see how I WISHED it looked, then just pay Amber's House a visit, and you will not be disappointed

Ahhhh,.... I nearly forgot  about the radiator.  This was painted to match the tub and then I had to turn it sideways and remove the feet, to fit it under the window.  It still needs to be supported out from the wall and I WILL get to it eventually, but for now it is officially how the bathroom is being 'heated'.

***

Chapter Eight
( in which I publicly disrobe)
I had mentioned to Marisa from Steinworks blog, that I had made a ratty old bathrobe, in her honor.
I sewed a robe using a 'bathrobe looking' piece of cotton fabric which I draped with the gel glue and hung proudly on a peg on the bathroom door.  However, once all the other elements began to move in, the bathrobe was no longer looking discreetly tatty.  It took up too much attention and competed with the rest of the visual clutter in the room so of course, it now Had to go and also, of course, it was already Firmly Glued in place

one last look

It wern't easy but now she's a goner, sorry Marisa!

***

Chapter Nine
( wherein I'm asked to take a seat)
There was enough room to the right of the sink to add a chair.  I had wanted also to have some towels for the bathroom and Heaven knows that I have SCADS of them on hand.  It was either a chair or a basket and then I thought of using the chair as a way to hold the towels on the rungs underneath the seat.  However, once I reviewed the photos it looked to me like a secondary toilet?  It was confusing to me so what would it look like to others.  If you have seen my post
"CHESTS CHAIRS AND PILLOWS"
you will see just how much furniture I have on hand.  Much is recycled from dismantled doll's houses and some is new stuff that has never had a home other than a packing box.  I rifled through my 'home store' here, and came up with an alternate choice.
It's the chair from my posting
"SHABBY DABBY DO!"
I re-upholstered it and then colored the new toile seat with diluted gel stain which I painted directly onto the cushion and then edged with some black cord trim.
chair before the trim
Now that's better!
The french chair is consistent with the style of the bathroom and the new seat cover is a good match with the color of the room and the pattern on the shower curtain.
Hey!
I hope that you are still with me

because we are very near to the end of this story
***

EPILOGUE
( in which I demonstrate just how many ways there are of taking a picture of the same tiny room) 


 





hair brush courtesy of Irene's Hambleton Hall blog tutorial
(and the bra, as it turns out, came from Janine at MINWORKS blog )
***
And so dear readers, I must leave you now.  I hope that you have enjoyed this adventure story of just how "Arthur" took a bath. It was quite lengthy wasn't it?   I know that some will read the story along with the pictures and some will just want to look at the pictures and forget the text.  Whichever suits your fancy is alright by me.  Janine told me that she looks at ALL the photos First, and THEN goes back to read the print.
 YOU SEE!
And YOU thought that You were the only one who skipped  right to the end first!

and this...Realy IS ..... THE END

                                                                                 ***





elizabeth